Tedeschi Trucks Band at The Chicago Theatre

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Tedeschi Trucks Band opened the second weekend of their Chicago residency with two great sets of music. Here’s a link to the complete setlist – I’m just going to point out a few highlights and add some personal perspectives.

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First Set

After opening with a lively “Misunderstood,” the band slowed down for a soulful “Bell Bottom Blues” from the Derek and the Dominoes album Layla. Three things about that album: 1) it was released on the same day that Susan Tedeschi was born; 2) Derek Trucks was named for that band because his parents loved the album; 3) they covered the entire disc (along with Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio) at last year’s LOCKN’ Festival.

At one point, Susan mentioned that there’s a living legend right here in Chicago: Buddy Guy. When TTB does their annual Chicago residency, Susan frequently drops by Buddy Guy’s Legends and sits in with Buddy and his band. She pointed out that he’s always been very kind to both her and Derek. Her plug for the legend was a nice intro to their cover of the Junior Wells classic “Little by Little,” which Buddy Guy frequently plays.

They went back to their own catalog with a nice rendition of “Anyhow” followed by a cover of Elton John’s “Border Song.”

Video Credit: Connor Holleb
Video Credit: Connor Holleb

Closing out the first set was a rocking version of “Show Me.” When she sang the line, “Show me a woman who’s got a good man,” I noticed Susan pointing to herself. The funny thing is that during the first verse, on the line “Show me a man who’s got a good woman,” I tapped Lisa on the shoulder and pointed to myself. 🙂

Near the end of the song, they went into an all-out jam with Derek and the three horn players trading off licks in a round-robin fashion, until it all blended into the four of them reaching a crescendo to end the song and the set.

Second Set

After a short break, the band returned for “Statesboro Blues,” with Susan delivering a killer solo. She must have been on a roll, because she took most of the guitar solos during the second set, including this one from the TTB original “Signs, High Times.”

Video Credit: Connor Holleb

Later in the set, Susan led a four-piece version of the band with a song she dedicated to her dad: John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery,” which, as she’s been doing since her solo days, she sweetened with a teaspoon of the Grateful Dead’s “Sugaree.”

Video Credit: Connor Holleb

The band closed out the set with an amazing version of the Allman Brothers Band’s “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” featuring virtually everyone in the band taking a solo. They returned for a short encore, “Made Up Mind,” the title track from their second album.

Video Credit: Connor Holleb

More Than a Band

Besides the incredible music, one of the things we like about TTB is their general philosophy. Derek Trucks is arguably the best guitarist currently performing, yet he doesn’t flaunt it or try to hog the spotlight. Everyone in the band gets an opportunity to showcase their chops, as the solos are distributed in a very egalitarian way. When you see them on stage and hear them talking about each other in interviews, it’s clear that there are no bloated egos in that band.

I recently read an article where the interviewer asked Derek and Susan why they have a 12-piece band when they could make more money if they had fewer musicians to pay. Basically, they said that they make enough to support their lifestyle, and it’s more important that they make great music. We have several of their albums and we’ve seen them three times in concert, and we can say with certainty that the music is their top priority. Get yourself to a TTB show!

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